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1.  Lack of implementation of Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) vaccination policy in household contacts of HBV carriers in Italy 
In Italy, HBV vaccination is recommended and offered free of charge through the National Health Service to selected population groups – e.g., family members of an HBsAg carrier, healthcare workers, newborns and those who were 12-years old in 1991. However, a significant proportion of cases of acute hepatitis B still occur in Italy among persons who should have been vaccinated. We analysed HBV sero-prevalence data of two vaccination target populations (people born after 1980 and household contacts of an HBV carrier) living in a southern Italian area in order to evaluate HBV vaccine coverage and its possible determinants.
Between 2003 and 2006, we carried out a cross-sectional, population-based, sero-epidemiological survey on HBV infection on 4496 randomly selected individuals (aged 20 years or more) from the general population of the province of Naples. Sera were tested for antibodies to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc) and to hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBsAg) by commercial immunoassays. Prevalence of past or current HBV infection and of HBV vaccination-induced immunity was calculated in two vaccination target populations. To analyze the association of epidemiological and socioeconomic characteristics with HBV vaccination of household contacts, we calculated crude and multiple logistic regression (MLR) odds ratio (OR).
Prevalence of HBV vaccine-induced immunity (anti-HBs alone) was much lower among household contacts (25%) than among those who had been targeted for universal adolescent vaccination (81.6%). Male sex, older age, unemployment and lower education levels were associated to lower immunization rates.
Understanding the different uptake of hepatitis B vaccination in these populations may provide useful information for optimizing vaccination campaigns in other contexts. Our data clearly demonstrated the need of improving the uptake of vaccination for household contacts of HBV carriers.
PMCID: PMC2702368  PMID: 19500412
2.  Is Universal HBV Vaccination of Healthcare Workers a Relevant Strategy in Developing Endemic Countries? The Case of a University Hospital in Niger 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44442.
Exposure to hepatitis B virus (HBV) remains a serious risk to healthcare workers (HCWs) in endemic developing countries owing to the strong prevalence of HBV in the general and hospital populations, and to the high rate of occupational blood exposure. Routine HBV vaccination programs targeted to high-risk groups and especially to HCWs are generally considered as a key element of prevention strategies. However, the high rate of natural immunization among adults in such countries where most infections occur perinatally or during early childhood must be taken into account.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We conducted a cross sectional study in 207 personnel of 4 occupational groups (medical, paramedical, cleaning staff, and administrative) in Niamey’s National Hospital, Niger, in order to assess the prevalence of HBV markers, to evaluate susceptibility to HBV infection, and to identify personnel who might benefit from vaccination. The proportion of those who declared a history of occupational blood exposure ranged from 18.9% in the administrative staff to 46.9% in paramedical staff. Only 7.2% had a history of vaccination against HBV with at least 3 injections. Ninety two percent were anti-HBc positive. When we focused on170 HCWs, only 12 (7.1%) showed no biological HBV contact. Twenty six were HBsAg positive (15,3%; 95% confidence interval: 9.9%–20.7%) of whom 8 (32%) had a viral load >2000 IU/ml.
The very small proportion of HCWs susceptible to HBV infection in our study and other studies suggests that in a global approach to prevent occupational infection by bloodborne pathogens, a universal hepatitis B vaccination of HCWs is not priority in these settings. The greatest impact on the risk will most likely be achieved by focusing efforts on primary prevention strategies to reduce occupational blood exposure. HBV screening in HCWs and treatment of those with chronic HBV infection should be however considered.
PMCID: PMC3436880  PMID: 22970218
3.  Hepatitis B Vaccination Status and Needlestick Injuries Among Healthcare Workers in Syria 
Although a majority of countries in the Middle East show intermediate or high endemicity of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, which clearly poses a serious public health problem in the region, the situation in the Republic of Syria remains unclear. The aim of this study is to determine the hepatitis B vaccination status, to assess the number of vaccinations administered, and to estimate the annual incidence of needlestick injuries (NSIs) among healthcare workers (HCWs) in Aleppo University hospitals.
Materials and Methods:
A cross-sectional design with a survey questionnaire was used for exploring details of NSIs during 2008, hepatitis B vaccination status, and HBV infection among a random stratified sample of HCWs in three tertiary hospitals in Aleppo (n = 321).
Two hundred and forty-six (76.6%) HCWs had sustained at least one NSI during 2008. Nine (2.8%) had HBV chronic infection and 75 HCWs (23.4%) were never vaccinated. Anesthesiology technicians had the greatest exposure risk when compared to office workers [OR = 16,95% CI (2.55-100), P < 0.01], doctors [OR = 10,95% CI (2.1 47.57), P < 0.01], and nurses [OR = 6.75,95% CI (1.56-29.03), P = 0.01]. HCWs under 25 and between the age of 25 and 35 years were at increased risk for NSI when compared to HCWs older than 45 years [OR = 3.12,95% CI (1.19-8.19), P = 0.02] and [OR = 3.05,95% CI (1.42-6.57), P < 0.01], respectively.
HCWs at Aleppo University hospitals are frequently exposed to blood-borne infections. Precautions and protection from NSIs are important in preventing infection of HCWs. Education about the transmission of blood-borne infections, vaccination, and post-exposure prophylaxis must be implemented and strictly monitored.
PMCID: PMC2840977  PMID: 20300414
Needlestick injuries; Hepatitis B infection; Healthcare workers
4.  Evaluation of immune response to Hepatitis B vaccine in health care workers at a tertiary care hospital in Pakistan: an observational prospective study 
Seroconversion rates reported after Hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination globally ranges from 85–90%. Health care workers (HCWs) are at high risk of acquiring HBV and non responders' rates after HBV vaccination were not reported previously in Pakistani HCWs. Therefore we evaluated immune response to HBV vaccine in HCWs at a tertiary care hospital in Karachi, Pakistan.
Descriptive observational study conducted at Aga Khan University from April 2003 to July 2004. Newly HBV vaccinated HCWs were evaluated for immune response by measuring serum Hepatitis B surface antibody (HBsAb) levels, 6 weeks post vaccination.
Initially 666 employees were included in the study. 14 participants were excluded due to incomplete records. 271 (41%) participants were females and 381(59%) were males. Majority of the participants were young (<25–39 years old), regardless of gender. Out of 652 HCWs, 90 (14%) remained seronegative after six weeks of post vaccination. The percentage of non responders increased gradually from 9% in participants of <25, 13% in 25–34, 26% in 35–49, and 63% in >50 years of age. Male non responders were more frequent (18%) than female (8%).
Seroconversion rate after HBV vaccination in Pakistani HCWs was similar to that reported in western and neighboring population. HCWs with reduced immune response to HBV vaccine in a high disease prevalent population are at great risk. Therefore, it is crucial to check post vaccination HBsAb in all HCWs. This strategy will ensure safety at work by reducing nosocomial transmission and will have a cost effective impact at an individual as well as at national level, which is very much desired in a resource limited country.
PMCID: PMC2228304  PMID: 17961205
5.  Influenza and hepatitis B vaccination coverage among healthcare workers in Croatian hospitals: a series of cross-sectional surveys, 2006–2011 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:520.
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at an increased risk of exposure to and transmission of infectious diseases. Vaccination lowers morbidity and mortality of HCWs and their patients. To assess vaccination coverage for influenza and hepatitis B virus (HBV) among HCWs in Croatian hospitals, we conducted yearly nationwide surveys.
From 2006 to 2011, all 66 Croatian public hospitals, representing 43–60% of all the HCWs in Croatia, were included. Statistical analysis was performed using the Kruskal–Wallis analysis of variance, Dunn’s multiple comparison analysis and the chi-square test, as appropriate.
The median seasonal influenza vaccination coverage rates in pre-pandemic (2006–2008) seasons were 36%, 25% and 29%, respectively. By occupation, influenza vaccination rates among physicians were 33 ± 21%, 33 ± 22% among graduate nurses, 30±34% among other HCWs, 26 ± 21% among housekeeping and the lowest, 23 ± 17%, among practical nurses (p < 0.01). In 2009–2010 season, seasonal influenza vaccination coverage was 30%, while overall vaccination coverage against pandemic influenza was fewer than 5%. Median vaccination coverage in the post-pandemic seasons of 2010–2011 and 2011–2012 decreased to 15% and 14%, respectively (reduction of 24% and 35%, respectively, p < 0.0001). Meanwhile, the median mandatory HBV vaccination coverage was 98%, albeit with considerable differences according to work setting (range 19–100%) and occupation (range 4–100%).
We found substantial year-on-year variations in seasonal influenza vaccination rates, with reduction in post pandemic influenza seasons. HBV vaccination is satisfactory compared to seasonal influenza vaccination coverage, although substantial variations by occupation and work setting were observed. These findings highlight the need for national strategies that optimize vaccination coverage among HCWs in Croatian hospitals. Further studies are needed to establish the potential role of mandatory vaccination for seasonal influenza.
PMCID: PMC3840606  PMID: 24192278
Influenza; Hepatitis B; Healthcare workers; Vaccination
6.  Influenza vaccination among healthcare workers in a multidisciplinary University hospital in Italy 
BMC Public Health  2008;8:422.
Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for healthcare workers (HCWs) in order to reduce the morbidity associated with influenza in healthcare settings. The aim of this study was to evaluate the current vaccination status of the HCWs in one of Italy's largest multidisciplinary University Hospitals.
Between February 1 and March 31, 2006, we carried out a cross-sectional study of influenza vaccination coverage among HCWs at the University Hospital Fondazione IRCCS "Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Mangiagalli e Regina Elena", Milan, Italy. After receiving a brief description of the aim of the study, 2,143 (95%: 1,064 physicians; 855 nurses; 224 paramedics) of 2,240 HCWs self-completed an anonymous questionnaire.
Influenza vaccination coverage was very low in all specialties, varying from 17.6% in the Emergency Department to 24.3% in the Surgery Department, and knowledge of influenza epidemiology and prevention was poor. The factors positively associated with being vaccinated were an age of ≥ 45 years, considering influenza a potentially severe disease, and being aware of the high-risk categories for which influenza vaccination is strongly recommended; those that negatively associated with being vaccinated were being female, working in the Medicine Department, and being a nurse or paramedic.
Despite strong recommendations, influenza vaccination coverage seemed to be very low among HCWs of all specialties, with differences between areas and types of employment. Specific continuous educational and vaccination programs for different targets should be urgently organized to reduce morbidity and mortality in high-risk patients, contain nosocomial outbreaks, and ensure an appropriate socioeconomic impact.
PMCID: PMC2651144  PMID: 19105838
7.  Self-reported occupational exposure to HIV and factors influencing its management practice: a study of healthcare workers in Tumbi and Dodoma Hospitals, Tanzania 
Blood borne infectious agents such as hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immune deficiency virus (HIV) constitute a major occupational hazard for healthcare workers (HCWs). To some degree it is inevitable that HCWs sustain injuries from sharp objects such as needles, scalpels and splintered bone during execution of their duties. However, in Tanzania, there is little or no information on factors that influence the practice of managing occupational exposure to HIV by HCWs. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of self-reported occupational exposure to HIV among HCWs and explore factors that influence the practice of managing occupational exposure to HIV by HCWs in Tanzania.
Self-administered questionnaire was designed to gather information of healthcare workers’ occupational exposures in the past 12 months and circumstances in which these injuries occurred. Practice of managing occupational exposure was assessed by the following questions:
Nearly half of the HCWs had experienced at least one occupational injury in the past 12 months. Though most of the occupational exposures to HIV were experienced by female nurses, non-medical hospital staff received PEP more frequently than nurses and doctors. Doctors and nurses frequently encountered occupational injuries in surgery room and labor room respectively. HCWs with knowledge on the possibility of HIV transmission and those who knew whom to contact in event of occupational exposure to HIV were less likely to have poor practice of managing occupational exposure.
Needle stick injuries and splashes are common among HCWs at Tumbi and Dodoma hospitals. Knowledge of the risk of HIV transmission due to occupational exposure and knowing whom to contact in event of exposure predicted practice of managing the exposure. Thus provision of health education on occupational exposure may strengthen healthcare workers’ practices to manage occupational exposure.
PMCID: PMC3718638  PMID: 23866940
HIV; Occupational exposure; Healthcare workers
8.  Hepatitis B Infection in Microbiology Laboratory Workers: Prevalence, Vaccination, and Immunity Status 
The risk of contracting HBV by health care workers (HCW) is four-times greater than that of general adult population. Studies have demonstrated that vaccine-induced protection persists at least 11 years. High risk groups such as HCWs should be monitored and receive a booster vaccination if their anti-HBsAb levels decrease below 10 mIU/mL. In view of the above this study was undertaken to assess the HBV vaccination of the HCWs and their immunological response. Seventy-two HCWs of the Department of Microbiology, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India, were recruited and blood sample was drawn for serological tests (HBSAg, anti-HCV, anti-HBsAb, anti-HBeAb, and anti-HBcAb). Anti-HBs titers of >10 mIU/mL were considered protective. Thirty-four (47.3%) of the participants were completely vaccinated with three doses. 25 (73.5%) of the participants with complete vaccination had protective anti-HBsAb levels as against 8 (53.3%) of those with incomplete vaccination and 9 (39.1%) of those who were not vaccinated at all. One of our participants was acutely infected while 29 participants were susceptible to infection at the time of the study. All HCWs should receive three doses of the vaccine and be monitored for their immune status after every five years. Boosters should be administered to those who become susceptible.
PMCID: PMC3529463  PMID: 23304474
9.  Personal Decision-Making Criteria Related to Seasonal and Pandemic A(H1N1) Influenza-Vaccination Acceptance among French Healthcare Workers 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e38646.
Influenza-vaccination rates among healthcare workers (HCW) remain low worldwide, even during the 2009 A(H1N1) pandemic. In France, this vaccination is free but administered on a voluntary basis. We investigated the factors influencing HCW influenza vaccination.
In June–July 2010, HCW from wards of five French hospitals completed a cross-sectional survey. A multifaceted campaign aimed at improving vaccination coverage in this hospital group was conducted before and during the 2009 pandemic. Using an anonymous self-administered questionnaire, we assessed the relationships between seasonal (SIV) and pandemic (PIV) influenza vaccinations, and sociodemographic and professional characteristics, previous and current vaccination statuses, and 33 statements investigating 10 sociocognitive domains. The sociocognitive domains describing HCWs' SIV and PIV profiles were analyzed using the classification-and-regression–tree method.
Of the HCWs responding to our survey, 1480 were paramedical and 401 were medical with 2009 vaccination rates of 30% and 58% for SIV and 21% and 71% for PIV, respectively (p<0.0001 for both SIV and PIV vaccinations). Older age, prior SIV, working in emergency departments or intensive care units, being a medical HCW and the hospital they worked in were associated with both vaccinations; while work shift was associated only with PIV. Sociocognitive domains associated with both vaccinations were self-perception of benefits and health motivation for all HCW. For medical HCW, being a role model was an additional domain associated with SIV and PIV.
Both vaccination rates remained low. Vaccination mainly depended on self-determined factors and for medical HCW, being a role model.
PMCID: PMC3407215  PMID: 22848342
10.  Occupational exposure to body fluids among health care workers in Georgia 
Health care workers (HCWs) are at increased risk of being infected with blood-borne pathogens.
To evaluate risk of occupational exposure to blood-borne viruses and determine the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) among HCWs in Georgia.
The sample included HCWs from seven medical institutions in five cities in Georgia. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect information on demographic, occupational and personal risk factors for blood-borne viruses. After obtaining informed consent, blood was drawn from the study participants for a seroprevalence study of HBV, HCV and HIV infections.
There were 1386 participating HCWs from a number of departments, including surgery (29%), internal medicine (19%) and intensive care (19%). Nosocomial risk events were reported by the majority of HCWs, including accidental needlestick injury (45%), cuts with contaminated instruments (38%) and blood splashes (46%). The most frequent risk for receiving a cut was related to a false move during a procedure, reassembling devices and handing devices to a colleague. The highest proportion of needlestick injuries among physicians (22%) and nurses (39%) was related to recapping of used needles. No HIV-infected HCW was identified. Prevalence of HCV infection was 5%, anti-HBc was present among 29% with 2% being HBsAg carriers.
Data from this study can be utilized in educational programs and implementation of universal safety precautions for HCWs in Georgia to help achieve similar reductions in blood-borne infection transmission to those achieved in developed countries.
PMCID: PMC3612004  PMID: 22869786
Blood-borne virus; contamination injury; developing country; needlestick
11.  Seroprevalence of Pandemic H1N1 Antibody among Health Care Workers in Hong Kong Following Receipt of Monovalent 2009 H1N1 Influenza Vaccine 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27169.
Healthcare workers in many countries are recommended to receive influenza vaccine to protect themselves as well as patients. A monovalent H1N1 vaccine became available in Hong Kong in December 2009 and around 10% of local healthcare workers had received the vaccine by February 2010.
We conducted a cross-sectional study of the prevalence of antibody to pandemic (H1N1) 2009 among HCWs in Hong Kong in February–March 2010 following the first pandemic wave and the pH1N1 vaccination campaign. In this study we focus on the subset of healthcare workers who reported receipt of non-adjuvanted monovalent 2009 H1N1 vaccine (Panenza, Sanofi Pasteur). Sera collected from HCWs were tested for antibody against the pH1N1 virus by hemagglutination inhibition (HI) and viral neutralization (VN) assays.
We enrolled 703 HCWs. Among 104 HCWs who reported receipt of pH1N1 vaccine, 54% (95% confidence interval (CI): 44%–63%) had antibody titer ≥1∶40 by HI and 42% (95% CI: 33%–52%) had antibody titer ≥1∶40 by VN. The proportion of HCWs with antibody titer ≥1∶40 by HI and VN significantly decreased with age, and the proportion with antibody titer ≥1∶40 by VN was marginally significantly lower among HCWs who reported prior receipt of 2007–08 seasonal influenza vaccine (odds ratio: 0.43; 95% CI: 0.19–1.00). After adjustment for age, the effect of prior seasonal vaccine receipt was not statistically significant.
Our findings suggest that monovalent H1N1 vaccine may have had suboptimal immunogenicity in HCWs in Hong Kong. Larger studies are required to confirm whether influenza vaccine maintains high efficacy and effectiveness in HCWs.
PMCID: PMC3213124  PMID: 22102878
12.  Frequent Transient Hepatitis C viremia without Seroconversion among Healthcare Workers in Cairo, Egypt 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57835.
With 10% of the general population aged 15–59 years chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), Egypt is the country with the highest HCV prevalence worldwide. Healthcare workers (HCWs) are therefore at particularly high risk of HCV infection. Our aim was to study HCV infection risk after occupational blood exposure among HCWs in Cairo.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The study was conducted in 2008–2010 at Ain Shams University Hospital, Cairo. HCWs reporting an occupational blood exposure at screening, having neither anti-HCV antibodies (anti-HCV) nor HCV RNA, and exposed to a HCV RNA positive patient, were enrolled in a 6-month prospective cohort with follow-up visits at weeks 2, 4, 8, 12 and 24. During follow-up, anti-HCV, HCV RNA and ALT were tested. Among 597 HCWs who reported a blood exposure, anti-HCV prevalence at screening was 7.2%, not different from that of the general population of Cairo after age-standardization (11.6% and 10.4% respectively, p = 0.62). The proportion of HCV viremia among index patients was 37%. Of 73 HCWs exposed to HCV RNA from index patients, nine (12.3%; 95%CI, 5.8–22.1%) presented transient viremia, the majority of which occurred within the first two weeks after exposure. None of the workers presented seroconversion or elevation of ALT.
HCWs of a general University hospital in Cairo were exposed to a highly viremic patient population. They experienced frequent occupational blood exposures, particularly in early stages of training. These exposures resulted in transient viremic episodes without established infection. These findings call for further investigation of potential immune protection against HCV persistence in this high risk group.
PMCID: PMC3585182  PMID: 23469082
13.  Healthcare workers and health care-associated infections: knowledge, attitudes, and behavior in emergency departments in Italy 
This survey assessed knowledge, attitudes, and compliance regarding standard precautions about health care-associated infections (HAIs) and the associated determinants among healthcare workers (HCWs) in emergency departments in Italy.
An anonymous questionnaire, self-administered by all HCWs in eight randomly selected non-academic acute general public hospitals, comprised questions on demographic and occupational characteristics; knowledge about the risks of acquiring and/or transmitting HAIs from/to a patient and standard precautions; attitudes toward guidelines and risk perceived of acquiring a HAI; practice of standard precautions; and sources of information.
HCWs who know the risk of acquiring Hepatitis C (HCV) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) from a patient were in practice from less years, worked fewer hours per week, knew that a HCW can transmit HCV and HIV to a patient, knew that HCV and HIV infections can be serious, and have received information from educational courses and scientific journals. Those who know that gloves, mask, protective eyewear, and hands hygiene after removing gloves are control measures were nurses, provided care to fewer patients, knew that HCWs' hands are vehicle for transmission of nosocomial pathogens, did not know that a HCW can transmit HCV and HIV to a patient, and have received information from educational courses and scientific journals. Being a nurse, knowing that HCWs' hands are vehicle for transmission of nosocomial pathogens, obtaining information from educational courses and scientific journals, and needing information were associated with a higher perceived risk of acquiring a HAI. HCWs who often or always used gloves and performed hands hygiene measures after removing gloves were nurses, provided care to fewer patients, and knew that hands hygiene after removing gloves was a control measure.
HCWs have high knowledge, positive attitudes, but low compliance concerning standard precautions. Nurses had higher knowledge, perceived risk, and appropriate HAIs' control measures than physicians and HCWs answered correctly and used appropriately control measures if have received information from educational courses and scientific journals.
PMCID: PMC2848042  PMID: 20178573
14.  Local skin reaction following an accidental injection from a BCG vaccine in a healthcare worker 
Exposure to blood‐borne pathogens from sharp injuries continue to pose a significant risk to healthcare workers (HCW). The number of sharps injuries sustained by HCW is still unclear, primarily due to under‐reporting of events. Healthcare professionals are at risk of sustaining such injuries from hollow‐bore needles. Sharps injuries are associated with risk of infection with blood‐borne pathogens such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) hepatitis C virus (HCV) and other live organisms. Here we are reporting a case of an adverse reaction in a HCW due to an accidental sharps injury by a needle used to administer the Bacillus Calmittee Gurien (BCG) vaccine.
PMCID: PMC3562930  PMID: 23386886
BCG vaccine; adverse reaction; healthcare worker; medical error
15.  Determinants of influenza vaccination uptake among Italian healthcare workers 
We analyzed seasonal influenza vaccination coverage among the Italian healthcare workers (HCW) in order to identify socio-demographic and clinical determinants of vaccination.
We used data from the survey “Health and health care use in Italy,” which comprised interviews of 5,336 HCWs For each respondent, information on socioeconomic, health conditions, self-perceived health and smoking status were obtained. After bivariate analysis, we used multilevel regression models to assess determinants of immunization. Overall 20.8% of HCWs (95%CI 19.7–21.9) reported being vaccinated against seasonal influenza.
After controlling for potential confounders, multilevel regression revealed that older workers have a higher likelihood of vaccine uptake (OR = 6.07; 95% CI 4.72–7.79). Conversely, higher education was associated with lower vaccine uptake (OR = 0.65; 95% IC 0.50–0.83). Those suffering from diabetes (OR = 2.07; 95% CI 1.19–1.69), COPD (OR = 1.95; 95% CI 1.31–2.89) and cardiovascular diseases (OR = 1.48 95% CI 1.11–1.96) were more likely to be vaccinated. Likewise, smokers, or former smokers receive more frequently the vaccination (OR = 1.40; 95% CI 1.15–1.70; OR = 1.54; 95% CI 1.24–1.91, respectively) compared with never-smokers as well as those HCWs reporting fair or poor perceived health status (ORs of 1.68, 95% CI 1.30–2.18).
Vaccine coverage among HCWs in Italy remains low, especially among those with no comorbidities and being younger than 44 y old. This behavior not only raises questions regarding healthcare organization, infection control in healthcare settings and clinical costs, but also brings up ethical issues concerning physicians who seem not to be very concerned about the impact of the flu on themselves, as well as on their patients. Influenza vaccination campaigns will only be effective if HCWs understand their role in influenza transmission and prevention, and realize the importance of vaccination as a preventive measure
PMCID: PMC3903913  PMID: 24064543
administration and dosage; attitude of health personnel; health behavior; human prevention and control; influenza; influenza vaccines; socioeconomic factors
16.  Comparison of the accelerated and standard vaccination schedules against hepatitis B in healthcare workers 
For healthcare workers, sometimes the conventional hepatitis-B virus (HBV) vaccination schedule might not provide seroconversion rapidly enough. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of conventional HBV vaccination with an accelerated schedule (days 0–1–21).
Materials and Methods:
In this randomized clinical trial, 161 healthcare workers were divided into two vaccination groups; group A underwent the conventional schedule (0–1–6 months) and group B received the accelerated program (0–10–21 days) of hepatitis B virus vaccine. The anti-HBs antibody was determined 30 days after completion of the third vaccine injection in both groups by enzyme immunoassay (EIA) (Abbot, Aux SYMsys). By using the Fisher’s exact and Wilcoxon tests, the results were analyzed. The protective level of anti-HBS was defined as titer ≥10 MIU/ml.
The seroprotection rate, 30 days after vaccination, were similar in both groups A and B; 96.3% of the participants in group A and 92.6% in group B had anti-HBS antibody ≥10 MIU/ml.
Our data indicated that compared to the classic HBS vaccination program an accelerated schedule could also be effective and achieve seroprotection more rapidly.
PMCID: PMC3698651  PMID: 23825992
HBS; healthcare workers; hepatitis-B; vaccination
17.  Control of Occupational Hepatitis B Among Healthcare Workers in the Czech Republic, 1982 to 1995 
Occupational hepatitis B remains a threat to healthcare workers (HCWs) worldwide, even with availability of an effective vaccine. Despite limited resources for public health, the Czech Republic instituted a mandatory vaccination program for HCWs in 1983. Annual incidence rates of acute hepatitis B were followed prospectively through 1995. Despite giving vaccine intradermally from 1983 to 1989 and intramuscularly as half dose from 1990 to 1995, rates of occupational hepatitis B decreased dramatically, from 177 cases per 100,000 workers in 1982 (before program initiated) to 17 cases per 100,000 in 1995. Among high-risk workers, the effect was even more dramatic (from 587 to 23 per 100,000). We conclude that strong public-health leadership led to control of occupational hepatitis B among HCWs in the Czech Republic, despite limited resources that precluded administering full-dose intramuscular vaccine for much of the program. Application of a similar program should be considered for other countries in regions that currently do not have a hepatitis B vaccination program.
PMCID: PMC2925678  PMID: 10823572
18.  Comparison of long-term immunogenicity (23 y) of 10 μg and 20 μg doses of hepatitis B vaccine in healthy children 
Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics  2012;8(8):1071-1076.
To compare the long-term immunogenicity and seroprotection rates in healthy children following 23 years of vaccination with 10 μg or 20 μg doses of plasma-derived hepatitis B vaccine, we revisited all participants from our previous randomized controlled trial. At year 23, 81 participants were tested for HBV serological markers and HBV-DNA, and a booster dose was given to those with anti-HBs titer < 10 mIU/mL. After eliminating the interference of a Year 11 booster dose and vaccines received outside of the trial, around 50% of participants still maintained anti-HBs titers ≥ 10 mIU/mL in both 10 μg and 20 μg groups (p > 0.05). The peak immune response of vaccination (anti-HBs antibody levels at 12 mo after 1st vaccine dose) and Year 11 anti-HBs levels were significantly associated with Year 23 seroprotection rates. Most of the participants in both groups, regardless of their prior immune status, developed a rapid and robust anamnestic antibody response after the booster dose at year 23. No case of clinically significant HBV infection was observed during the entire study period of 23 y with only one transient HBsAg seroconversion in 10 μg vaccine group. We concluded that seroprotection provided by 10μg or 20 μg doses of hepatitis B vaccine persists for 23 years in more than half of vaccinated individuals in highly HBV-endemic areas, irrespective of 10 μg or 20 μg vaccine doses. Future studies with larger sample sizes comparing long-term efficacy of various doses of plasma-derived and recombinant HBV vaccines are recommended.
PMCID: PMC3551878  PMID: 22854666
Anamnestic response; HBV; Hepatitis B; PDV; Vaccine; anti-HBs; clinical trial; immune response; long-term; plasma-derived vaccine; vaccine intervention study
19.  A tailored health surveillance program unveils a case of MALT lymphoma in an HCV-positive health-care worker 
Oncology Letters  2012;5(2):651-654.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) may occur among hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected individuals. HCV is one of the most common blood-borne pathogens transmitted from patients to health-care workers (HCWs). The development of NHL among HCV-infected HCWs has recently been shown. To investigate this issue further a tailored health surveillance program was applied to 3,138 HCWs from four Medical Institutions. To this aim, all employees were screened for both anti-HCV antibodies and HCV-related extrahepatic manifestations. The HCV prevalence rate, similar among all the HCW subgroups, was 7.3%. The occurrence of a gastric mucosa-associated lymphoma tissue (MALT) lymphoma, diagnosed in a physician following a long history of HCV chronic infection, was observed. Molecular characterization of MALT tissue indicated that immunoglobuline gene combinations were those usually found among HCV-associated lymphomas. Furthermore, B-cell expansion exhibited t(14;18) translocation, as a genetic abnormality associated with the development of MALT lymphomas from HCV-positive patients. Overall, these findings support the hypothesis that HCV viral infection potentially affects the pathway of transformation and progression of lymphoma cells. The occurrence of B-cell NHL, among HCV-positive HCWs, is an additional reason to apply the standard precautions to reduce the risk of blood-borne pathogen transmission.
PMCID: PMC3573080  PMID: 23420489
hepatitis C virus; health-care worker; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; surveillance
20.  Longitudinal seroepidemiologic study of the 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) infection among health care workers in a children's hospital 
To probe seroepidemiology of the 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) among health care workers (HCWs) in a children's hospital.
From August 2009 to March 2010, serum samples were drawn from 150 HCWs in a children's hospital in Taipei before the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) pandemic, before H1N1 vaccination, and after the pandemic. HCWs who had come into direct contact with 2009 influenza A (H1N1) patients or their clinical respiratory samples during their daily work were designated as a high-risk group. Antibody levels were determined by hemagglutination inhibition (HAI) assay. A four-fold or greater increase in HAI titers between any successive paired sera was defined as seroconversion, and factors associated with seroconversion were analyzed.
Among the 150 HCWs, 18 (12.0%) showed either virological or serological evidence of 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) infection. Of the 90 unvaccinated HCWs, baseline and post-pandemic seroprotective rates were 5.6% and 20.0%. Seroconversion rates among unvaccinated HCWs were 14.4% (13/90), 22.5% (9/40), and 8.0% (4/50) for total, high-risk group, and low-risk group, respectively. Multivariate analysis revealed being in the high-risk group is an independent risk factor associated with seroconversion.
The infection rate of 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) in HCWs was moderate and not higher than that for the general population. The majority of unvaccinated HCWs remained susceptible. Direct contact of influenza patients and their respiratory samples increased the risk of infection.
PMCID: PMC3364885  PMID: 22498010
Influenza; Pandemic; H1N1; Health care workers; Children
21.  Hepatitis E virus infection in hemodialysis patients: A seroepidemiological survey in Iran 
The hepatitis E virus (HEV) has a global distribution and is known to have caused large waterborne epidemics of icteric hepatitis. Transmission is generally via the fecal-oral route. Some reports have suggested parenteral transmission of HEV. Anti-HEV prevalence data among chronic hemodialysis (HD) patients are few and give conflicting results.
This cross-sectional study was conducted in August of 2004. We tested 324 chronic HD patients attending three different units in the city of Tabriz, northwestern part of Iran, for anti-HEV antibody. A specific solid- phase enzyme-linked immunoassay (Diapro, Italy) was used.
The overall seroprevalence of hepatitis E was 7.4 %(95% CI: 4.6%–10.6%). The prevalence rate of HBV and HCV infection were 4.6% (95% CI: 2.3%–6.9%) and 20.4% (95% CI: 16%–24.8%), respectively. No significant association was found between anti-HEV positivity and age, sex, duration of hemodialysis, positivity for hepatitis B or C virus infection markers and history of transfusion.
We observed high anti-HEV antibody prevalence; there was no association between HEV and blood borne infections (HBV, HCV, and HIV) in our HD patients. This is the first report concerning seroepidemiology of HEV infection in a large group of chronic HD individuals in Iran.
PMCID: PMC1156896  PMID: 15904504
22.  Hand hygiene practices among health care workers (HCWs) in a tertiary care facility in Pune 
Improper hand hygiene by healthcare workers (HCWs) is responsible for about 40% of nosocomial infections resulting in prolonged illnesses, hospital stays, long-term disability and unexpected high costs on patients and their families, and also lead to a massive additional financial burden on the health-care system.
To assess knowledge and practices regarding hand hygiene among HCWs of a tertiary health care facility.
A cross sectional, questionnaire and observation based study was carried out in a tertiary care health care facility in Pune. Based on sample size calculations, 100 HCWs working in medical and surgical wards were studied.
The proportion knowledgeable about hand hygiene practices was 85% and 73% HCWs were of the belief that unclean hands are an important route of cross transmission. WHO guidelines regarding procedure were being followed by 90% for hand washing with soap and water and 64% for alcohol based rubs. Majority preferred hand washing with soap and water over hand rubbing with alcohol based solutions. 21% of HCWs were missing hand hygiene opportunities 1 in 5 times. Heavy workload (38%), non availability (52%) and inaccessibility (9%) of hand hygiene facilities were the common reasons for non-compliance. Availability of ‘one time use paper towels’ was low (12%).
Inadequate compliance despite knowledge and false sense of security by alcohol based rubs was seen. A multi disciplinary, multifaceted approach is required to tackle issues of non-compliance.
PMCID: PMC3862659  PMID: 24532935
Hand hygiene; Health care workers; Nosocomial infections; Universal precautions; Tertiary health care facility
23.  Prevalence of HBV and HBV vaccination coverage in health care workers of tertiary hospitals of Peshawar, Pakistan 
Virology Journal  2011;8:275.
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) may progress to serious consequences and increase dramatically beyond endemic dimensions that transmits to or from health care workers (HCWs) during routine investigation in their work places. Basic aim of this study was to canvass the safety of HCWs and determine the prevalence of HBV and its possible association with occupational and non-occupational risk factors. Hepatitis B vaccination coverage level and main barriers to vaccination were also taken in account.
A total of 824 health care workers were randomly selected from three major hospitals of Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Blood samples were analyzed in Department of Zoology, Kohat University of Science and Technology Kohat, and relevant information was obtained by means of preset questionnaire. HCWs in the studied hospitals showed 2.18% prevalence of positive HBV. Nurses and technicians were more prone to occupational exposure and to HBV infection. There was significant difference between vaccinated and non-vaccinated HCWs as well as between the doctors and all other categories. Barriers to complete vaccination, in spite of good knowledge of subjects in this regard were work pressure (39.8%), negligence (38.8%) un-affordability (20.9%), and unavailability (0.5%).
Special preventive measures (universal precaution and vaccination), which are fundamental way to protect HCW against HBV infection should be adopted.
PMCID: PMC3121707  PMID: 21645287
24.  Planning and process evaluation of a multi-faceted influenza vaccination implementation strategy for health care workers in acute health care settings 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:235.
Influenza transmitted by health care workers (HCWs) is a potential threat to frail patients in acute health care settings. Therefore, immunizing HCWs against influenza should receive high priority. Despite recommendations of the World Health Organization, vaccine coverage of HCWs remains low in all European countries. This study explores the use of intervention strategies and methods to improve influenza vaccination rates among HCWs in an acute care setting.
The Intervention Mapping (IM) method was used to systematically develop and implement an intervention strategy aimed at changing influenza vaccination behaviour among HCWs in Dutch University Medical Centres (UMCs). Carried out during the influenza seasons 2009/2010 and 2010/2011, the interventions were then qualitatively and quantitatively evaluated by way of feedback from participating UMCs and the completion of a web-based staff questionnaire in the following spring of each season.
The IM method resulted in the development of a transparent influenza vaccination intervention implementation strategy. The intervention strategy was offered to six Dutch UMCs in a randomized in a clustered Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT), where three UMCs were chosen for intervention, and three UMCs acted as controls. A further two UMCs elected to have the intervention. The qualitative process evaluation showed that HCWs at four of the five intervention UMCs were responsive to the majority of the 11 relevant behavioural determinants resulting from the needs assessment in their intervention strategy compared with only one of three control UMCs. The quantitative evaluation among a sample of HCWs revealed that of all the developed communication materials, HCWs reported the posters as the most noticeable.
Our study demonstrates that it is possible to develop a structured implementation strategy for increasing the rate of influenza vaccination by HCWs in acute health care settings. The evaluation also showed that it is impossible to expose all HCWs to all intervention methods (which would have been the best case scenario). Further study is needed to (1) improve HCW exposure to intervention methods; (2) determine the effect of such interventions on vaccine uptake among HCWs; and (3) assess the impact on clinical outcomes among patients when such interventions are enacted.
PMCID: PMC3680164  PMID: 23701921
Influenza vaccination; Health care workers; Intervention mapping; Intervention implementation; Acute health care
25.  Lasting immune memory against hepatitis B in children after primary immunization with 4 doses of DTPa-HBV-IPV/Hib in the first and 2nd year of life 
Few studies have assessed long term persisting immunity against hepatitis B virus (HBV) in children vaccinated during infancy with combined vaccines containing recombinant HBV surface antigen (HBs). We assessed antibody persistence and immune memory in children 4-5 years of age, previously vaccinated with four doses of combined hexavalent DTPa-HBV-IPV/Hib vaccine (Infanrix hexa™).
Immune memory was assessed in 301 children through administration of a challenge dose of monovalent HBV vaccine.
At 4-5 years of age, 85.3% of subjects had persisting anti-HBs antibody concentrations ≥ 10 mIU/mL, rising to 98.6% after the HBV challenge dose. All but 12 subjects (95.8%) achieved post-challenge anti-HBs concentrations ≥ 100 mIU/mL. The post-challenge anti-HBs GMC rose by 100-fold compared to pre-challenge concentrations. An anamnestic response to the HBV vaccine challenge was observed in 96.8% of subjects, including 17/21 (81.0%) of children with initially undetectable antibodies (<3.3 mIU/mL). All but 4 of 42 subjects (90.5%) with anti-HBs antibodies <10 mIU/mL prior to the challenge dose, achieved seroprotective levels afterwards. A 4-fold rise in antibody concentration after the challenge dose was observed in 259/264 (98.1%) of initially seropositive subjects. The magnitude of the post-challenge responses was proportional to pre-challenge anti-HBs levels. No serious adverse events were reported during the study.
The combined DTPa-HBV-IPV/Hib vaccine induced lasting immune memory against hepatitis B. Long term protection afforded by DTPa-HBV-IPV/Hib is likely to be similar to that observed following priming with monovalent HBV vaccines.
Trial registration 106789 NCT00411697
PMCID: PMC2821389  PMID: 20078876

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